​Let’s spice up your dull rental kitchen | homify | homify
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​Let’s spice up your dull rental kitchen

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
ferm LIVING Image Photos: scandinavian  by ferm LIVING, Scandinavian
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As any respectable person would tell you, the kitchen is the heart of the home. And therefore, one cannot take designing and laying out a kitchen lightly at all. From simple elements (like your choice of utensils) to big decisions (like which stove to install), building up a dream kitchen takes a lot of commitment. 

However, when it comes to living in a rental, we do not always have 100% control over our kitchens. There’s no freedom that allows you to break through a wall for a breakfast bar, or add some more windows for natural light. It all comes down to décor to make our rental kitchen reflect our taste and personality. 

But, before we can play, we must work—and that means scrubbing your kitchen down from ceiling to floor. Given the amount of heat generated in a kitchen on a daily basis, it should come as no surprise that kitchen surfaces are prone to collecting lots of grime. And do you really want to add those stunning decorative objects to a grimy and dull kitchen surface? 

Once you have your sparkling, smudge-free kitchen, feel free to continue with zhuzhing it up in one (or all) of the following ways.

Bring in bright colours

The Scandinavian Kitchen Scandinavian style kitchen by Papilio Scandinavian

The Scandinavian Kitchen


Colours that pop are expert at upgrading a bland background. Hence, choose a bright colour scheme to instantly upgrade your rental kitchen. Since changing tiles and countertop surfaces is out of the question, we must make do with other arrangements, like a bright new rug to enhance your décor while simultaneously covering part of the existing floor. 

Window treatment is another option to add some spicy colour to your kitchen. Highlight those bare walls with some wall art in striking tones. Kitchen décor presents a range of possibilities, such as illustrated recipes and wall decal words (a hot trend which is not restricted to your cooking space, as these can be added to your bathroom, bedroom, study, lounge… )

Or how about hanging some shots of delectable dishes in stunning frames? This is a culinary zone, after all!

The art of accessories

Adding accessories is a quick way of dressing up a rental kitchen. From portable compact furniture and accent pieces to a polka-dot coffee maker, striking accessories are what will catch your (and your guests’) eyes upon entering a kitchen. 

Regardless of your kitchen space, a stool or trolley is essential. So, instead of opting for a regular wooden or metal one in a neutral tone, you may as well pick one in a brilliant blue or sunny yellow to perk up the place. 

homify hint: Opt for furniture that pull double duty. Get some folding chairs in bright colours that will not only wow your kitchen, but will also save on space. Need a seat for a friend? Unfold one. Need some legroom to prepare dinner? Fold it back up and let it rest against the wall.

Play with patterns

ferm LIVING Image Photos: scandinavian  by ferm LIVING, Scandinavian

ferm LIVING Image Photos


Patterns are a genius way of blowing some life into a space. When it comes to the kitchen, patterns are most often added to the curtains. A chequered design can give curtains a vintage look, while polka dots are used to make a space feel young and flirty. 

But there is an entire universe of different patterns (floral, chevron, houndstooth, damask… ), and once we bring in colours it expands even further. 

Installing faux wallpaper behind open shelved cabinets is a sure-fire way of making your vertical surfaces pop with pattern. But patterned fabrics can also be used to create refrigerator pockets or dust covers for ovens and microwaves. However, keep scale in mind when thinking about introducing patterns. Motifs that are quite large may not work very well if the entire pattern won’t be visible in your chosen space. On the other hand, a very intricate design may get lost in your overall kitchen décor. 

Here on homify we've got the scoop on delightful: Pattern Trends!

Beautify your baseboards

7.3 Kitchen Eclectic style kitchen by Essenza Legno Eclectic
Essenza Legno

7.3 Kitchen

Essenza Legno

While your rental kitchen’s flooring is pretty much off limits, your baseboards are easy to upgrade. A new coat of paint can enhance them quite superbly. Or consider changing their colour to alter your entire kitchen’s look and feel. Just don’t forget to paint it back to the original colour once you’re moving out. 

To paint your baseboards, ensure that they are clean of all visible dirt and grime. A fresh coat of paint can be applied directly. We would recommend first scraping off the old paint that is flaking off, priming the baseboards, and then attacking with your paintbrush. 

And remember: if you are changing the baseboard colour from dark to light, you may need to apply more than coating, so stock up on your chosen tone.

When the light is just right

It should come as no surprise that your kitchen requires perfect lighting – after all, it is a place where you work and concentrate. But lighting is not just for illuminating your cutting board – it is also an aesthetic element. 

Installing pendant lights or ceiling lights may not be practical in your rental kitchen, unless you have a light point in the centre of the room. Another option would be to install rope lights under cabinets to illuminate your counter space.

A task lamp with a swing arm is also an ideal option. To save counter space, it could be hung from a wall. And since you are playing with lights, switch over to LEDs to give your electricity bill a breather.

See homify’s exquisite range of lighting experts, ready and waiting to help you light the way to a stylish house.

Walls that speak

Accent walls are a fantastic way to add character to a rental kitchen. And if your landlord did not give you permission to change wall colours, simply note the name of the original wall colour, and paint it back before you move out. 

Starched fabric can be fixed to the wall to mimic wallpaper. But remember that the steam from the stove will loosen the starch or glue, so if you’d like to try this technique, opt to have your accent wall away from your stovetop. Or how about getting back to raw basics and covering one of the walls with some stone, brick, tiles, or wooden cladding?

Should you want to try something a bit simpler, try replacing the faucet and hardware, like your drawer handles – this will also successfully improve the kitchen. You could even take a look at your switchboards to see if they can be replaced. If not, washi tape can be an effective camouflage tool.

Striking storage bins to hold cutlery and utensils can also brighten up your kitchen. And you can further complement these by using uniform glass jars that can contain your condiments.

Regardless of which steps you take to spice up your rental kitchen, remember that even the most elegant kitchen in the world will be deemed unsightly if it’s messy!

Which ideas will you use to improve your rental kitchen? Can you think of any other tricks? Share them with us...
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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